Jason Taumalolo is among the players at odds with the Tonga National Rugby League.
Jason Taumalolo is among the players at odds with the Tonga National Rugby League.

Tonga expelled from international rugby league

THE Tonga National Rugby League has just one week to appeal a decision that would result in it being expelled by the International Rugby League.

A dispute erupted last year between the Tongan players and the federation, and it has not been resolved.

In October, the TNRL sacked Kristian Woolf and appointed Frank Endacott and Garth Brennan as coaches amid fallout over finances and resources.

That saw players such as Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita threaten to boycott the World Cup Nines and the end-of-season Tests.

Such a situation was avoided, with the players turning out for an "Invitational XIII" side for historic Test wins over Great Britain and Australia.

The IRL released a statement on Monday, notifying Tonga of the decision to kick it out.

It read: "At its board meeting on 13 February, the directors carefully considered the position of Tonga National Rugby League, which has been suspended since October 2019, in the light of a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders in the Tongan game.

Tonga celebrate after beating Australia.
Tonga celebrate after beating Australia.

"After that meeting, the board wrote to TNRL, advising them of the resolution passed at that meeting, which is to expel TNRL from the membership.

"There is a process within the IRL constitution for dealing with membership issues, which IRL is following. TNRL has one week to appeal the board's decision."

A potential expulsion raises huge question marks over the future of Tonga as a Test force, following their emergence as an international power at the 2017 World Cup.

The TNRL has one week to appeal the decision.

If they choose to, the issue will be adjudicated on by IRL members.

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